Grab is a new travel app that allows travelers to pre-order food, drinks and other purchases directly from their smartphones before they get to a location. Sounds great but does it really work? I decided to give it a try at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport.
It took less than a minute to download the free application and create an account. A credit card is required to be saved to the profile before you can place any orders.
Before I got to the airport, I searched for restaurants near my gate. The map was easy to navigate and I could take a look at all the eateries, terminal by terminal. However, in Atlanta, only 2 of the 5 terminals had Grab partnered locations listed. There were handful of options on Grab that were on Terminal T, though there were many other restaurants that were not part of the Grab family. For example, I would much prefer to eat at Corner Bakery (located across from my gate), but this was not listed as an option under Grab. Starbucks Coffee, which always has a long line, does not offer a Grab option either.
I decided to order from Argo Tea, which showed as a 5-10 minutes walk from where I was (It was not that far). The app gave guided directions to my destination. I have never dined at this place before, so was not familiar with their menu. The selections were briefly described, though not all ingredients were listed. It would have been nice to see a picture of the food, as I do tend to make a lot of my choices based on how fresh it looks. I ordered a kale salad, mushroom empanada, ruggelah and a medium latte. Once I made each selection, I could modify my order, for example make my latter with skim milk, and also comment any specifications. I asked for salad dressing on the side.
I entered a coupon code for payment and confirmed my order. Ordering was quite simple. Now I started walking towards Argo Tea.
It was nice to see there was a separate line for Grab customers. I went to this line and the cashier asked me, “What would you like to order?” I said I had already placed an order on Grab, and she exclaimed, “Oh that was you!” It was only after I arrived that she started making my latte and packing my food. At this point she informed me that they don’t have empanada or kale salad. In fact, they don’t have empanadas on their menu at all. I told her that it was showing on their menu in the app, and she said it might be the menu of their Chicago location.
The cashier allowed me to trade the 2 items with something else, though she didn’t know how to enter it in the cash register. I grabbed a spinach quiche and edamame salad instead, to try and stay in the same price range. The entire transaction took 5 or more minutes.
I never received a notification or receipt by email or text at any point. You can login to the app and then manually email receipt to yourself or your expense department. If you are a frequent user, it is convenient to see all your airport purchases in one place, though I doubt you will be having all your meals through Grab.
My review of Grab travel app:
- Easy to use app
- Great search feature
- Convenient online payment
- Limited selections
- May not necessarily save time
Grab sounds like a great travel app that makes eating on the go convenient. I like the search feature and may just use that to look for places I want to eat at. I would probably try the Grab app again a couple of times to see if other businesses actually have the food ready to be “grabbed” and can provide a speedier check. Otherwise, if there aren’t any long lines, I would prefer to see, order and pick up food myself.
Grab is currently available in Atlanta and Austin, but launching in other cities very soon. To learn more or download the free mobile app for Apple and Android devices, click here.